Sheffield 3: around the city

Time for a look round Sheffield’s city centre. If you follow the World Snooker Championships on TV you will know the Crucible Theatre which has hosted them since 1977. The theatre opened in 1971 so it was still very new when I arrived as a fresher in Sheffield in 1975. Students were able to purchase tickets for 50p so I spent a lot of time there – at that price, I could afford to see just about every production.

Round the corner is the Graves Art Gallery which sits above the Central Library. I spent a lot of time there too (no prizes for guessing that).

I liked the art work in the stairwell connecting the two institutions – Blue Bird (2007) by Seiko Kinoshita.

Sheffield Cathedral isn’t spectacular from the outside – it looks like the parish church it was until the Diocese of Sheffield was created in 1914 and its status was upgraded. It’s interesting inside though. The Steel Nativity by Brian Fell honours Sheffield’s major industry.

As a Methodist, I didn’t often attend the Cathedral. I went to Wesley Church in Broomhill, a large, dark building which took up the entire corner now occupied by a more modern church and a block of flats.

Back to the city centre – just behind the cathedral is the beautiful 18th century Paradise Square, quite different from all its surroundings.

Heading back in the direction of the university is the City Hall where I graduated in 1978. Here I am on the steps with my family after the ceremony.

Two new features outside the City Hall are the golden post-box and the Women of Steel Memorial. All Team GB gold medal winners at the London Olympics in 2012 were honoured with a gold painted post-box in their home towns. This one is for Jessica Ennis who won the Women’s Heptathlon – the only other one I have seen is Andy Murray’s in Dunblane. Women of Steel by Martin Jennings also dates from 2012 and celebrates the women of Sheffield who worked in the city’s steel mills and factories during both world wars.

Of course, talk of churches, theatres and libraries is all very well – but students like pubs too! Sad to relate, many of the hostelries we remember have disappeared. The Stone House was a spectacular pub – the room at the front was an ordinary bar, but if you moved through the back you found yourself in an “outdoor” courtyard with painted stone walls and a night-sky ceiling. Now it appears to be housing.

I don’t remember Harrisons, but John does (it’s near the Engineering Department). It caught my eye though because I like the way it has incorporated the original function of the building into its name: W. E. Harrison – Steeplejack of Nelson Column fame.

The Beehive and the Green Room are both near Victoria House, the flats where we lived as postgraduates. In those days, the Green Room was a wine bar called Mr Kite’s. We had some of our earliest dates there, thinking ourselves impossibly sophisticated as we shared a bottle of Hirondelle (a cheap wine of uncertain origin). On my last visit to Sheffield 25 years ago, Mr Kite’s still existed and had the same wine list painted on the wall, though it was historical by that time, Hirondelle having deservedly vanished into oblivion. The Green Room menu looked good, so we went there for lunch one day in the hope of rekindling romantic memories. The food was good – when we got it: service was atrocious. Bring back Mr Kites!

One pub which remains as good as it was is the Fat Cat – but that will have to wait till my next post when we head for Kelham Island.

72 thoughts on “Sheffield 3: around the city

  1. restlessjo May 17, 2019 / 07:22

    My Dad used to light up at the sound of that snooker music, Anabel. In fact they played him out to it at his funeral- raised a laugh! 🙂 🙂 The hours he spent watching snooker from the Crucible! Always makes me nostalgic.

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  2. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) May 15, 2019 / 20:02

    I really like the Steel Nativity, and Blue Bird is also rather lovely! There’s a gold post box in front of my local Sainsbury’s, but I can’t remember who it’s for. I think there’s another one elsewhere in Wimbledon too.

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  3. Heyjude May 14, 2019 / 11:42

    Not much here that I know, other than the Crucible Theatre as we used to have lectures in the basement of a building opposite or nearby (possibly the library I guess) and pop in to have a coffee at break. And the city hall which is where I saw a few bands in the early ’70s and also had my graduation ceremony in 1992. Two gold post boxes I have seen are in Penzance (Helen Glover) and Lincoln (Sophie Wells).

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  4. shazza May 14, 2019 / 10:28

    Never been Sheffield, it looks like somewhere I would find interesting. Great graduation photo! X

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  5. Ann May 14, 2019 / 08:44

    Hirondelle wine, now that takes me back! It seemed so much more sophisticated than the Blue Nun produced by parents on special occasions. I imagine it was cheaper too.
    I have been following your blog for over a year and this is my first venture into a comment. Many thanks for the interest and enjoyment

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  6. Andrew Petcher May 14, 2019 / 07:04

    Great trip down memory lane. I should really make an effort to visit Sheffield.

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  7. Retirement Reflections May 14, 2019 / 00:17

    Sadly, I have never watched the World Snooker Championships. (Sometimes I seriously think that I do live under a rock)! 🙂 I love the new features outside of City Hall – especially The Women of Steel Memorial. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter May 14, 2019 / 07:25

      I don’t think that’s anything to be sad about! Spotting statues and memorials to women is one of my things as you know, and I liked this one.

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  8. Eilene Lyon May 13, 2019 / 20:24

    How fun to wander through old stomping grounds! I remember going back to my first university and looking for the student union – what I recall as a sort of gothic wonder. I loved it. I could see the spires, but could never quite find the building. Thwarted at every turn. At last, I sadly realized they had built a modern monstrosity in its place, retaining only the spires somehow.

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  9. Suzanne May 13, 2019 / 20:04

    Hi Anabel, I quite enjoy your trips down memory lane and comparing then to now.

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter May 13, 2019 / 20:40

      Thanks. I like your new picture – when I followed the link I discovered your url has changed and my Feedly feed still has you under the old one. So apologies for missing lots of posts. Sorted now!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne May 13, 2019 / 23:46

        No worries Anabel, I just assumed you were busy. Thanks regarding the photo, I realised that my hair had changed so I thought I had better redo my photo 🙂 Glad to read you have it sorted out the link. Yes, I knew there would be hiccups regarding the change of my blog name. It had to be done and lessons were learned regarding what to name a blog when you first start off 🙂

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  10. Kev May 13, 2019 / 19:08

    Nice post. The Harrisons sign is amazing. The ‘Of Nelson’s Column Fame’ bit tickles me. The only gold post box I’ve seen is on Hanover Street in Edinburgh, in honour of Chris Hoy, if I remember rightly.

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